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Washington state prepares for employment impacts from coronavirus

Impacts from COVID-19, or coronavirus, could have far-reaching impacts on employment in Washington state.

While cases of COVID-19, or coronavirus, continue to grow in the U.S., Washington state is preparing to deal with side effects of the outbreak. 

Employment Security, the Department of Commerce and the State Department of Financial Institutions are coordinating to deal with negative job and business impacts from COVID-19 on Washington's economy.

One of the biggest concerns is around employment. The Employment Security Department (ESD) has a two-fold approach to layoff assistance

  • Help businesses and workers facing major layoffs
  • Help prevent layoffs from happening 

Companies can apply for SharedWork, which reduces full-time hours of employees, temporarily layoff employees, or consider partial employment. 

“We are already having employers reaching out and sharing with us, and applying for some of these tools,” said Susy Levine, Director of ESD. “And we are expecting more employers to come to us and avail themselves, especially of shared work or standby.”

Levine said those employers are in the shipping business. The Northwest Seaport Alliance, which operates the ports of Tacoma and Seattle, said some sailings from China are being cancelled, and some ships arriving here are only carrying 50 to 75 percent of their normal cargoes for this time of year.

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